Report: China's Xi Plans Russia Visit as Soon as Next Week

China's President Xi Jinping applauds after the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 13, 2023. (Reuters)
China's President Xi Jinping applauds after the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 13, 2023. (Reuters)
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Report: China's Xi Plans Russia Visit as Soon as Next Week

China's President Xi Jinping applauds after the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 13, 2023. (Reuters)
China's President Xi Jinping applauds after the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 13, 2023. (Reuters)

Chinese President Xi Jinping is planning to travel to Russia to meet with his counterpart, Vladimir Putin, as soon as next week, people familiar with the matter said, which would be sooner than previously expected.

Plans for a visit come as China has been offering to broker peace in Ukraine, an effort that has been met with skepticism in the West given China's diplomatic support for Russia.

Russia's Tass news agency reported on Jan. 30 that Putin had invited Xi to visit in the spring. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that a visit to Moscow could take place in April or early May.

China's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the possibility of Xi going to Moscow and the Kremlin declined to comment.

No other details were immediately available.

The sources briefed on the matter declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the issue.

Last month, Putin hosted China's top diplomat Wang Yi on a visit to Moscow and signaled that Xi would travel to Russia.

China and Russia struck a "no limits" partnership in February of 2022, when Putin was visiting Beijing for the opening of the Winter Olympics, weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, and the two sides have continued to reaffirm the strength of their ties.

Xi has met Putin in person 39 times since becoming president, most recently in September during a summit in central Asia.

On Monday, Xi wrapped up the annual session of China's parliament, the National People's Congress, during which he was unanimously confirmed in a precedent-breaking third term as president.



Internet Hasn't Been Restored in Bangladesh despite Apparent Calm Following Deadly Protests

Bangladeshi soldiers stand guard at the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, amid the anti-quota protests in Dhaka on July 21, 2024. (Photo by Munir UZ ZAMAN / AFP)
Bangladeshi soldiers stand guard at the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, amid the anti-quota protests in Dhaka on July 21, 2024. (Photo by Munir UZ ZAMAN / AFP)
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Internet Hasn't Been Restored in Bangladesh despite Apparent Calm Following Deadly Protests

Bangladeshi soldiers stand guard at the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, amid the anti-quota protests in Dhaka on July 21, 2024. (Photo by Munir UZ ZAMAN / AFP)
Bangladeshi soldiers stand guard at the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, amid the anti-quota protests in Dhaka on July 21, 2024. (Photo by Munir UZ ZAMAN / AFP)

Internet and mobile data services are still down despite apparent calm in Bangladesh following a verdict that scaled back a controversial quota system for government jobs after weeks of relentless protests that turned deadly.
The government has also declared Monday a public holiday, with only essential services running. This comes after a curfew with a shoot-on-sight order was installed days earlier and military personnel could be seen patrolling the capital and other areas, The Associated Press said.
The South Asian country witnessed clashes between the police and mainly student protesters demanding an end to a quota that reserved 30% of government jobs for relatives of veterans who fought in Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971.
The violence has killed more than a hundred people, according to at least four local newspapers. Authorities have not so far shared official figures for deaths. On Thursday, communications were cut off as tensions escalated.
There was no immediate violence reported on Monday morning after the Supreme Court ordered the veterans’ quota to be cut to 5%, with 93% of jobs allocated on merit, the day before. The remaining 2% will be set aside for members of ethnic minorities as well as transgender and disabled people.
On Sunday night, some student protesters urged the government to restore internet services. Hasnat Abdullah, a coordinator of the Anti-Discrimination Student Movement, told the Associated Press that they were withdrawing their calls for a complete shutdown, which they attempted to impose last week.
“But we are issuing an ultimatum for 48 hours to stop the digital crackdown and restore internet connectivity,” he said, adding that security officials deployed at various universities should be withdrawn, student dormitories reopened and steps taken so students can return to their campuses safely. Abdullah also said they wanted the government to end the curfew and ensure the country was back to normal within two days.
Students have also demanded some university officials to step down after failing to protect campuses. Sarjis Alam, another coordinator of the Anti-Discrimination Student Movement, said that they would continue with their protests if all their demands weren't met. “We cannot step back from our movement like a coward,” he added.
Another key organizer of the student protests, Nahid Islam, told reporters that the internet shutdown had disrupted their ability to communicate and alleged that authorities were trying to create divisions among protesters. “I am mentally traumatized ... our unity is being destroyed,” he said.
The US Embassy in the capital Dhaka described Sunday the situation as “extremely volatile” and “unpredictable,” adding that guns, tear gas and other weapons have been used in the vicinity of the embassy. They said the Bangladeshi army had been deployed and urged Americans to be vigilant, avoid large crowds and reconsider travel plans.
The protests have posed the most serious challenge to Bangladesh’s government since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina won a fourth consecutive term in January elections that the main opposition groups boycotted. Universities have been closed, the internet has been shut off and the government has ordered people to stay at home.
Protesters had argued the quota system was discriminatory and benefited supporters of Hasina, whose Awami League party led the independence movement, and wanted it replaced by a merit-based system. Hasina has defended the quota system, saying that veterans deserve the highest respect regardless of political affiliation.
The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party has backed the protests, vowing to organize its own demonstrations as many of its supporters joined the student-led protests.
The Awami League and the BNP have often accused each other of fueling political chaos and violence, most recently ahead of the country’s national election, which was marred by a crackdown on several opposition figures.